On February 13th, Anthony Joshua announced to the world that he would be making his American debut against Jarrell Miller, June 1st. In a YouTube video labelled ‘Fight Announcement’, AJ expressed his excitement to be headlining at the mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden.
“We’re heading to New York baby, I want a bite of the Big Apple!”
Just over a month prior to the fight date, Miller was denied a boxing license after testing positive for ‘Human Growth Hormone’ and later failed a further two tests for other ‘banned substances’. Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing said that the Miller situation ‘worries’ him, before announcing their intentions to find a ‘clean’ opponent. (ESPN)
At the beginning of the month it was announced that Andy Ruiz Jr., a 29-year-old Californian-based Mexican with a record of 32-1 (21 KO’s) would step in as Miller’s replacement.
One thing for certain is that Joshua will hope to make a splash in his first fight across the pond… continuing on the road to undisputed.
Despite having a mouth-watering main event, fight fans are also attracted by the number of high-calibre fights taking place before Joshua’s bout.
In what will be Matchroom’s debut at MSG, there will be six British fighters on the card, giving them an opportunity to introduce their name to an overseas audience. For the locals, this will be their first true look at AJ, giving Americans the chance to familiarise themselves with the best heavyweight on the planet before a potential undisputed match up with their own Deontay Wilder.
British fighters in action Saturday night…
Joshua Buatsi vs Marco Antonio Peribán
Josh Kelly vs Ray Robinson
Katie Taylor vs Delfine Persoon
Tommy Coyle vs Chris Algieri
Callum Smith vs Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam
Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr
Let’s look at some of these fights in more detail and see exactly WHY they hold value…
Kelly vs Robinson
For Josh Kelly, his 10th professional fight against will come against a seasoned Ray Robinson, his third defence of the WBA International Welterweight Title. Despite being matched for height, ‘Pretty boy’ Kelly will have to adapt his approach slightly because of the southpaw stance of Robinson.
Can he defend the WBA once more?
Taylor vs Persoon
For Ireland’s Katie Taylor, Saturday night will be the biggest of her career, with the incredible opportunity of creating history, becoming undisputed world champion. Her opponent, Belgian’s Delfine Persoon has the final piece of the puzzle, holding the WBC lightweight belt from Taylor’s collection.
Will Katie Taylor conquer the lot?
Smith vs N’Dam N’Jikam
After winning both the WBA and WBC of George Groves last year, Callum Smith’s first defence of these titles will come at MSG against the well experienced N’Dam N’Jikam. If Smith makes it 26-0 Saturday night, a potential fight against Billy Joe Saunders could well and truly become a reality after Billy Joe saying “it would be a great fight for the fans” after his recent victory against Shefat Isufi.
Who wins… Callum Smith or BJS?
The amount of World title fights on the undercard will keep the crowd more than occupied in their wait for AJ… a spectacle fit for MSG.
Because of the fact that Ruiz Jr. isn’t the most attractive of names in the boxing world, many people have written the challanger off from the first bell, looking on to Joshua’s next opponent.
One of the main ingredients which makes boxing entertaining is the power that these athletes possess, especially at heavyweight level. Each of these fightets can knock out oneanother at any given moment, meaning Andy Ruiz Jr. is potentially one punch away from becoming the first Mexican World Heavyweight Champion.
In light of all this, AJ stressed that “I am only World Champion up until June 1st”, assuring his supporters that he will not slip up from the banana skin, being Andy Ruiz Jr.
Considering the fact that Joshua’s last fight was well over seven months ago, a slow start from the champ as he familiarises himself within the environment again. The early rounds could be Ruiz Jr’s best shot at vicory!
However, if AJ manages to weather the storm and begins to let his hands go, I can’t see it lasting much longer than five rounds for the Brit to claim his first taste of victory on American soil.
- My prediction = AJ, Round 5 KO!
The price of the show currently stands at £19.95 but will increase by a further five pounds for bookings past midnight, Friday.
For a packed night of boxing and the chance to see the greatest heavyweight on the planet perform at MSG, it’s a no brainer surely!